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Why a winery is the best place to spot two solar eclipses

 

Blackout drinking

Nobody can deny that for those in the right place at the right time, solar eclipses are awe-inspiring displays of nature’s majesty. Getting to that right place at that right time, however, is often easier said than done.

Most of the eclipses that Feedback can remember were obscured either by cloudy skies, excessive concern for retinal integrity or by being in the wrong country. Sometimes, possibly, all three at once.

That’s why NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory ambassador Tony Rice (@rtphokie on Twitter) is getting his plans for the 2023 annular and 2024 total eclipse lined up early.

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Observing that the paths of the two eclipses intersected at a spot in Vanderpool, Texas, he dug a little deeper and discovered that the location almost exactly matched that of the Lost Maples Winery – an ideal oasis to wait out Earth’s troubles while enjoying the very best that astronomy has to offer.

“Just pointing this out, for planning purposes,” Rice tweeted. Feedback will see you there.

Honk honk

Depending on your interest in such matters, you may or may not have come across Untitled Goose Game, the sleeper video game hit of 2019. The premise is simple enough to explain.

To quote the game itself: “It’s a lovely morning in the village, and you are a horrible goose.”

Over the course of various situations, the player is urged to control a malevolent goose as it causes small but keenly felt irritation to a broad range of local residents.

Feedback was reminded of the game when we read a story in the Mail Online about an electrician who lost his job after accidentally loudly playing the sound of pornography during a council meeting in Worcester, UK.

Modesty forbids us from going too deeply into the details, but suffice it to say that the man in question claimed that the noises originated from a video of a honking goose.

“Council bosses launched an investigation,” reports Mail Online, “but found that no members of staff said it sounded anything like a goose.”

Classic horrible goose behaviour there: making sounds that sound nothing like a goose in order to get somebody into trouble. Disgraceful.

Viva Las Vagus

Feedback is always partial to a good pun. Though let’s be honest, we aren’t averse to a bad pun now and again either, so long as it ups the word count and keeps our editor unhappy.

Which is why we are grateful to those colleagues of ours who sent through a recently published article in the Journal of Physiology all about the functioning of the vagal system and the cranial nerve that gives it its name.

If you would like to find out more about it yourself, look up “What happens in vagus, no longer stays in vagus” by Jordan B. Lee, Lucas J. Omazic and Muhammad Kathia.

Rossy posse

Another week, another chance for some nominative determinism. Come on, we cry, like a desperate parent dragging their child away from their mobile phone for a chance to spend some quality time together. It’ll be fun! Promise!

It’s off to Scotland this time, where football team Ross County has acquired a new player: goalkeeper Ross Doohan, on loan from Celtic. So far, so mildly mirthful. But, as @G4rve points out on Twitter, this isn’t the only goalkeeping Ross County Ross.

Doohan looks set to share the space between the uprights with Rosses Laidlaw and Munro – a 100 per cent Ross rate at the number 1 position.

As if that wasn’t enough, they will be joined by midfielder Ross Draper and striker Ross Stewart. Never mind their on-pitch exploits – as far as Feedback’s concerned, that roster’s going to take some beating.

Where there’s a weed

We couldn’t get through this week’s Feedback without casting an eye over recent appointments in the world of gardening.

Why, you ask? Because we know our readers. If we didn’t stop to mention the fact that the new president of the Royal Horticultural Society is Keith Weed, our inbox would undergo some sort of rupture.

The story, as reported in The Times, is a veritable raised bed of nominative determinism. “My dad was a Weed but my mother was a Hedges,” he said.

What’s more, runs the story, “two years ago the organisation discovered that one in eight of its staff had a name associated with nature, the outdoors or horticulture, such as Heather, Berry, Moss, Gardiner or Shears, and various permutations of Rose”.

It’s hardly surprising to Feedback that the gardening world is such a hotbed of appropriate names: our readers have been pointing this out to us for decades.

Just this week, for example, Peter Slessenger writes in to namecheck Gerard Clover, who is head of plant health at the Royal Horticultural Society, and Dorothy Giacomin points out Guy Shrubsole, a trees campaigner at Friends of the Earth, as well as her old plant sciences lecturer at King’s College London: Pete Moore.

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